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Internal MacBook Pro Hard Drive showing as empty!

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I've seen plenty of posts about drives appearing full (using cmnd-I), when they are not. But I have the opposite problem. My single 750GB internal drive is reporting the opposite, and it's gobbledegook. It says:

Capacity: 749.3 GB
Available: 759.11 GB
Used: – – bytes (– – KB on disk)

The only correct thing here is the capacity. But in fact I've used around 150GB so there is around 600GB available.

This hasn't happened out of the blue. I have a Late 2011 MacBook Pro running Lion OS 10.7.5. I have resisted upgrading for fear of losing the use of some old apps. A couple of weeks ago I experienced odd crashes: first lots of fine vertical lines before the screen went blank. Later, a complete freeze followed by 3 loud beeps, repeating every few seconds. I took the back off and cleaned out 8 years worth of dust and fluff and removed and reseated the RAM. No more beeps but still the occasional crash – one with thick pink and white vertical lines. But then all seemed well and I decided to clone the internal drive to an external drive to preserve it, prior to upgrading the internal OS.

I dug out a 3TB Lacie USB3 drive which I connected using a Lacie USB3 Express Card. I had great difficulty getting the drive to mount, but when it finally did I immediately erased and partitioned it and started the cloning using Carbon Copy Cloner 3.4.5. After just a few minutes it said it had finished, with one error. But clearly it hadn't. It had only copied a few folders and not even the contents.

Returning to it the next day, I could not mount the Lacie drive again. So I tried a different Express Card – and that worked! (So much for the Lacie one…). I then successfully cloned the internal drive to a partition on the external one, which, using cmnd-I now says:

Capacity: 999.75 GB
Available: 845.88 GB
Used: 153,863,872,512 bytes (153.86 GB on disk)

which looks spot on. But when I check my internal drive it shows as above – empty.

A couple of other odd things: after one crash I rebooted into Safe Mode and the display had 'split' down the middle, and moved horizontally so that the left and right sides of the display met in the middle. And the cursor was just a few extremely feint white dots.

Another time, when opening files in different apps I got a message like: 'You are about to open this application for the first time…' yet I had been using it regularly up to the day before. But also, I had noticed some time ago that if I select any app in Applications without opening it, it shows a 'Last opened' date which is completely wrong. Even Carbon Copy Cloner still shows the same date – 'Friday 27 April 2012' – for 'Created', 'Modified' and 'Last opened'.

So my questions are: Have I inadvertently corrupted something in the OS? Can I safely try upgrading to El Capitan, and indeed would that cure the problem? Or do I need to attempt some repair work first, in which case what, and how?

Any help gratefully received as I have now been tackling this for days! Though as we have now been told to stay indoors to stop the spread of Covid-19, I guess I'll have plenty of time to fix it...
 

pigoo3

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Two things I would suggest:

1. If this is an older computer...it's possible this internal drive is on it's last legs...and may be time for a replacement.
2. Also possible you have some corrupted system files that need some attention. I would suggest using the free maintenance app called "Onyx".

- Download the appropriate Onyx version for the macOS version you have installed.
- Launch Onyx.
- Leave all the settings as default.
- Click on the "Automation" button...and let it do it's thing (may take a while).

Also...upon launch...Onyx does a verification of the disk. If this internal drive fails the verification...this could be a sign the drive is bad.

Onyx is safe to use (and free). We recommened it all the time.:)

Titanium Software | Operating system utilities for Mac - Home

Good luck,

- Nick
 
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The 15" Model of that vintage MBP had graphic card issues.
 
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Two things I would suggest:

1. If this is an older computer...it's possible this internal drive is on it's last legs...and may be time for a replacement.
2. Also possible you have some corrupted system files that need some attention. I would suggest using the free maintenance app called "Onyx".

- Download the appropriate Onyx version for the macOS version you have installed.
- Launch Onyx.
- Leave all the settings as default.
- Click on the "Automation" button...and let it do it's thing (may take a while).

Also...upon launch...Onyx does a verification of the disk. If this internal drive fails the verification...this could be a sign the drive is bad.

Onyx is safe to use (and free). We recommened it all the time.:)

Titanium Software | Operating system utilities for Mac - Home

Good luck,

- Nick
Thanks for your prompt reply. I am following your suggestion. I've downloaded and launched Onyx and it immediately went went through "Verifying startup volume "Macintosh HD" " which is the only volume on my desktop. It then reported "The volume needs to be repaired". and explained how to restart into Recovery Mode to launch Disk Utility, which I did. But there, it lists 'Macintosh HD' as the partition of the physical drive '750.16 GB Hitachi HTS 7…' Sorry if it's a dumb question, but which do I select for repair?
 

chscag

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But there, it lists 'Macintosh HD' as the partition of the physical drive '750.16 GB Hitachi HTS 7…' Sorry if it's a dumb question, but which do I select for repair?
The Macintosh HD is what you want to check. The Hitachi.. is the physical drive as a whole.
 
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The Macintosh HD is what you want to check. The Hitachi.. is the physical drive as a whole.
Bad news I'm afraid. I did not get as far as running Onyx as it got me to run Disk Utility and Repair Disk first. This was done and reported as successful. But before running Onyx it recommended backing up. I'm afraid I've only ever done this in a piecemeal and irregular manner, so I decided to use Time Machine and back up properly onto a second partition on the external drive which I had successfully (I hope) cloned to a few days ago. However, 10 minutes into the backing up it stopped, referring to some error and suggesting trying again. I decided I wouldn't until the following day, and I turned to browsing and emails instead. But a few minutes later while in Mail the screen went black for a few seconds, then cleared but the display had frozen. I could move the cursor ('hand') but it did nothing. This was the first crash for many days - can I blame the disk 'repair' for that?!

Next day, I rebooted in Recovery Mode hoping to startup using the clone I had made, but the external drive did not show up (a problem I'd had with the previous USB3 Express Card I tried). So I had to boot normally, but it had only been on a couple of minutes and it crashed again, this time with the same fine, vertical lines that had accompanied the first crash about 10 days ago.

I disconnected the external drive before rebooting, and this time Mail reopened with the spinning beachball, but it was otherwise frozen.

I tried rebooting in Safe Mood but after going through all the various screens, a grey blind came down and a message in many languages said 'You need to restart your computer...'.

I tried rebooting holding the 'D' key which I understand should open the Apple Hardware Test. I got the logo etc, but then just a grey screen and a lot of fan noise, so I eventually powered off.

Now when I boot up I get widely spaced vertical lines and a double image of the logo (partly pink). That eventually goes and I'm left with a blank grey screen, which goes black - and the 3 repeating beeps start... So I have come full circle. This is the problem I encountered a couple of weeks ago which led to all of the above!

I managed to backup all my documents to a memory stick a few days ago. So my main concern now is retrieving my photos. I am pretty certain I was able to view them on the clone right after I had made it, but I failed to check I could boot from it because the Lacie drive had stopped showing up again.

The issue I started this thread about seems rather insignificant now. At that point I could at least boot up okay. But since doing the disk 'repair' I can't even get the machine running. I don't know what to try next and am feeling increasingly despondent. If I can't even boot into Safe Mode is there anything I can do? I have read about resetting the PRAM. Is it worth trying that?

I am reluctant to give up on this old workhorse, but if I have to buy a new machine, will I be able to use that to boot from the external drive to access my clone - assuming I successfully made it bootable? And if I didn't, will I at least be able to copy files from it?

The title of my thread no longer sums up the problem. Should I start a new one?

Thanks.
 
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If you want to know if your Lacie clone is good you can try powering on your computer while holding down the Option key. Hopefully you will see your internal and Lacie drive listed and you can select the Lacie drive. If it boots and then offers to clone back to your internal drive that means it is working.

Resetting the PRAM and SMC won’t hurt but I think your problems are more than what resetting will fix.

I fear your graphics card has failed which is common with that model. IMO you might want to start looking for a new computer.

Lisa
 

pigoo3

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Now when I boot up I get widely spaced vertical lines and a double image of the logo (partly pink). That eventually goes and I'm left with a blank grey screen, which goes black - and the 3 repeating beeps start... So I have come full circle.
As Lisa mentioned...this computers GPU is very likely failing. All of these video issues are independent of your hard drive. Even if your hard drive had failed 100%...you would not see any video issues.

At this point you could remove the hard drive...put into an external HD enclosure...plug it into a 2nd computer...and copy the contents to the destination you prefer.

If your hard drive is acting "flakey" as well. Maybe this computer has both a failing GPU and failing hard drive.

- Nick
 
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Thanks for all your replies. I appear to have successfully cloned the hard drive having checked it on an ancient iMac (I couldn't boot from it but at least all the files are accessible).

I was unimpressed to learn (from your replies and other posts on further investigation) that there was a known problem with the graphics chip (?) on 2011 models, and that Apple were offering free logic board replacements and extended warranties. I knew nothing of this. Shouldn't they have told me?!

Anyway, we are where we are. I'm considering buying a later model second-hand. Is there a list anywhere of other models with problems? One I've been considering is the mid-2015 15" MacBook Pro.

Failing that, my now probably dead late-2011 17" is otherwise pristine and has not been heavily used and was adequate for my needs. Would replacing the logic board (and the hard drive if necessary) give it a new lease of life, in which case would that not be worth doing? I'm sure it'll cost, but it has to be cheaper than a new machine, surely?
 
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The graphics card will still be questionable, I don’t recommend it.


Sent from my iPad using Mac-Forums
 

chscag

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Failing that, my now probably dead late-2011 17" is otherwise pristine and has not been heavily used and was adequate for my needs. Would replacing the logic board (and the hard drive if necessary) give it a new lease of life, in which case would that not be worth doing? I'm sure it'll cost, but it has to be cheaper than a new machine, surely?
I agree with Bob. Even after replacing those components and spending the $$$, you still have a machine that is close to 10 years old and will likely fail again. Not worth it. Buy a new or newer machine before spending any more money on that one.

Of course it's up to you to decide.
 
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The replacement boards Apple was using were all refurbished boards as are the ones available. The failure rate on those was also high.

The reason Apple did not notify anyone of the replacement program was they wanted your computer to fail first and then inquire. I had an intermittent issue with my 2011 MBP and took it into Apple when the logic board replacement program was ongoing. Needless to say my MBP showed no issues even after extensive testing. Now the program is over and I have three lines that run vertically through the screen but since they are one pixel wide and I don't use her much anymore she is in effect retire!

I would check this article as that model had a battery issue: Apple Recalls Mid-2015 15-inch "Retina" MacBook Pro Laptops For Battery Safety Issue

You can run the serial number of the one you are looking at using the link in the article to see if the battery issue applies or ask if the issue has been fixed.

Otherwise the 2015 15" MBP would be a nice replacement IMO. ;)

Lisa
 
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Good suggestion, Lisa. That is exactly my history. I, too, had a 2011 17" that had the GPU issue. Apple replaced the board, but I never really trusted it again for anything serious. So I got a 15" mid-2015, then had the battery replaced when it swelled up and now my machine is good to go. Loving it.
 
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Getting back to the hard drive issue, the drive is likely OK. The worst I've seen after previously replacing the logic board after GPU issues is some software corruption due to previous crashes, usually fixed via Disk Warrior.
 
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